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Title: Acquisition of Additive Manufacturing Capabilities for Expeditionary Operations
Authors: Susan M. Sanchez, Claudia Luhrs
Mary L. McDonald, Greg Lynch
Keywords: additive manufacturing
iron mountain
data farming
Issue Date: 1-Dec-2021
Publisher: Acquisition Research Program
Citation: Published--Unlimited Distribution
Series/Report no.: Logistics Management;NPS-LM-22-006
Abstract: Additive manufacturing (AM) has the potential to fundamentally change how military expeditionary operations are conducted. By manufacturing spare parts in remote sites, rather than relying on lengthy and extensive supply chains or remaining tethered to an “iron mountain” of logistics support, the expeditionary units have the potential to be more agile, to maintain their readiness at high levels while deployed, and to extend their operational reach. AM has enjoyed success in a number of specialty fields. Potential benefits for expeditionary units include achieving higher readiness at lower cost, because deployed units can use AM to create replacement parts at or near the point of demand, rather than either relying on carrying large quantities of spare parts or dealing with long lead times for replacements. Another potential benefit is the ability to reduce wastage of the materials used in the three-dimensional (3D) printing process and subsequent post-treatments by only producing what is needed. Finally, if the same compounds can be used to manufacture a variety of parts, AM could help forward-deployed units maintain a high level of readiness while dramatically reducing their logistics footprint. To realize this potential, program managers have several decisions to make. They must determine how best to acquire AM capabilities, what classes of components are suitable for AM, whether the resulting structural and reliability are comparable for components made using AM and current methods, and how differences in reliability may affect the supply chain and readiness levels. If the suitability and reliability are not factored into the decision-making process, then AM may end up being a costly and largely redundant logistics system running in parallel with the current supply chain, rather than being a transformative capability.
Description: Logistics Management - Faculty Report
Appears in Collections:Sponsored Acquisition Research & Technical Reports

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